Photo courtesy of Moundsville Daily Echo/Robert Ovies WVU defenders converge on a running back Pitt during last Thursday’s contest at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh. The Mountaineers host Kansas at 6 p.m. today in the Big 12 opener.

MORGANTOWN – West Virginia starts the Big 12 Conference game at 6 p.m. today against Kansas in the home opener at Mountaineer Field in Puskar Stadium in Milan.

WHAT IS AT STAKE?

Kansas and West Virginia start particularly early in the Big 12 schedule and they are the only head-to-head matchup between the teams in the league this weekend. West Virginia, the only Big 12 team to lose its opener this season, will try to get a critical season for fourth-year coach Neal Brown back on track. The Mountaineers led Pittsburgh 31-24 before giving up a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Kansas is looking for its first 2-0 start since 2011, which would match its win total for all of last season.

KEY MATCH

West Virginia LB Lee Kpogba vs. Kansas RB Devin Neal. Kpogba spent two seasons as a reserve at Syracuse, then a season at a community college in Mississippi. He led the Mountaineers with 10 tackles and a fumble recovery last week. Neal rushed for 108 yards on just four carries as the Jayhawks rushed for 297 yards in their first 56-10 win over Tennessee Tech of the Championship Subdivision.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kansas: QB Jalon Daniels. Daniels went 15 of 18 for 189 yards and completed passes to nine different receivers last week.

West Virginia: RB CJ Donaldson. The 240-pound freshman ran for 125 yards on just seven attempts, snatching a 44-yard rush on his first varsity rush. Donaldson also blocked a Pittsburgh punt to set up his own short touchdown. He will face a Kansas defense that has held Tennessee Tech to 2.2 yards per carry.

FACTS AND FIGURES

Kansas’ 56 points were the most in a Jayhawks first game since 1912 … West Virginia quarterback JT Daniels will make his Big 12 debut after playing at Georgia the past two seasons and at Southern Cal in 2018 and 2019. … Kansas starting catcher Trevor Wilson remains suspended after he and Tanaka Scott were arrested near campus last month. Scott will be available for Saturday’s game. … The Jayhawks’ only win in the series was in 2013 at home. … West Virginia wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton had nine catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns against Pittsburgh. A fourth quarter pass that went through his hands was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, which was the game’s final margin. … West Virginia has won 18 straight home openers.



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